Robert Guerrero, boxing champion from Gilroy, made an East Coast swing last week to promote his May 4 mega-fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr. There would be ESPN facetime in Bristol, Conn., and a media luncheon in New York City. But first there would be a stop in Virginia Beach, Va., where Pat Robertson and his popular Christian talk-show The 700 Club, awaited.
Guerrero has been known to be a man of faith. And he explained on The 700 Club how his faith helped him absorb the strongest punch he's ever taken — when his wife, Casey, was diagnosed with leukemia in 2007 — and how faith helped the two of them knock the illness back into the ropes. "If you believe, and you have faith in Jesus, prayer is very effective," he told the million or so viewers of the show.
He also had some things to say about Mayweather. Those viewers, of course, may not have been familiar with Guerrero's talented but prickly opponent from Las Vegas. But Guerrero, aka The Ghost, schooled them: "He's out there in the world. And he's about money, and everything else that comes along with the fame and fortune."
Perhaps it was a mind game. Just a couple of weeks earlier, Mayweather had lobbed malice in an interview at the alleged zealotry of yet another boxer, Andre Ward, the undefeated middleweight from Hayward whom Guerrero had known since their days on the East Bay's amateur boxing circuit. "He calls himself 'S.O.G.'" Mayweather said, referring to Ward's nickname. "If I'm not mistaken, that stands for 'Son of God.' ... When one fighter is facing another fighter, God don't choose sides."
Now here was Guerrero calling Mayweather a heathen. Guerrero didn't have to mention that his opponent once torched a $100 bill on cable television, or that his opponent once served 90 days in jail for hitting his ex-girlfriend. Whether or not God would choose sides, it was clear where His faithful would cast their lots.
"I think you'll have an army of people praying for you," said Robertson's co-host, Terry Meeuwsen.
But while prayers can be helpful, we all know God helps those who help themselves. Guerrero's trip took a strange development as he checked his bags at JFK Airport. He alerted the ticket agent that he was traveling with a Smith & Wesson M&P .40-caliber handgun and three unloaded magazines. The boxer is licensed to own a gun in California but does not have a permit to possess one in New York, which has among the strictest gun laws in America. He was arrested, then released on his own recognizance. His hearing is scheduled for 10 days after his bout with the Money Man from Sin City.
A trip that began with a meeting with Pat Robertson concluded with problems with a Blue State's liberal gun regulations. Maybe the Tea Party will want him in its corner.